GeneticsHartford Hospital’s Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center provides a genetic counseling and testing program for individuals at risk for specific hereditary cancers.

Potential candidates

Individuals who had cancer at a young age, or have had two or more cancers, such as breast, ovarian or colon, or a family history of certain cancers, are eligible for genetic counseling and testing through the program. The program follows guidelines from the National Society of Genetic Counselors and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Genetic counseling

The patient will meet with a genetic counselor who will explain the program, discuss concerns, and gather the patient's medical and family history, focusing on types of cancer and ages at diagnosis. If a patient has genetic testing, the counselor will explain at a follow-up visit what test results may mean for the patient and family members.

What genetic testing involves

Genetic testing looks for mutations/alterations in genes, which may increase the risk for certain cancers. Testing starts with collecting a blood sample from the patient. DNA from the sample is studied for mutations that can increase cancer risk.

Available treatment options

If test results indicate a genetic mutation that increases cancer risk, the genetic counselor will present treatment options for the patient to discuss with his or her doctor.

Physician referral needed

A physician referral is required for genetic counseling and testing, and insurance usually covers testing for patients at risk of hereditary cancer.

To learn more:

Call the Cancer Connect line: 860-545-6000